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The town by the sea by Amitav Ghosh - Analysis


Amitav ghosh, town by the sea
The Town by the Sea is an abridged version of a three part essay by Amitav Ghosh written about the Tsunami of 26 December 2004. 

The essay is written in the form of a story. The director was a very strict and disciplined person. The attitude of director towards his family was different. He gives value to objects in a strange way. He never gives value for emotions and relationships. His choices are very clear and his memories are evoked through objects. Instead of collecting his daughter’s yellow painted box, he collects his slides which shows that he is conscious of the need to control his emotions.


Last two paragraphs are philosophical. The director is juxtaposed with the narrator. The director faced his personal tragedy with great will power and moral strength.  Towards the end of the essay, there are more encounters with the narrator and the director. While reading, we find two to three question marks towards the last paragraphs. This series of question marks show the complexity of a human mind. The director’s attitude is intellectual rather than emotional.

The narrator is unable to reach any clear conclusion. He is confused regarding the way in which people should respond to personal loss. He pictures the director as a person who is strong and mentally powerful. He is a symbol of those who give more importance to objects and beliefs than to emotions and relationships. Also he possesses strong power to overcome tragedy. However the women in the essay remain underdeveloped characters. The only two women characters are dead by the end of the essay. The Director’s wife is a teacher who desires to go away from Malacca but meets with a tragic end. The daughter also is dead and the end of the narrative is a world of men without women. 


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